Barker Martin

Condo-HOA Blog

What's Your Authority?

I was reminded this week of a common pitfall: Don’t choose your authority to fit the argument you’re trying to make at the time.

Savvy board members and managers look for authority before taking action on behalf of their community associations.  What happens when you find what appears to be conflicting authority?

Conflicts sometimes require attorney analysis.  One of the first things we evaluate whether or not a conflict actually exists. For example, if an association’s governing documents may include the same authority as that allowed by statute but requires procedural steps to be taken prior to exercising that authority. There is a good argument that the two authorities are not in conflict.  One just requires additional steps.

Apparent conflicts are often resolved based on limiting language the dictates which authority applies.  For example, many statutory provisions include language such as: “unless specifically provided otherwise” and “unless otherwise provided in the declaration.”  These are important phrases to consider when evaluating authority. An apparent conflict between an association’s governing documents and statute might not be a conflict at all if the statute says… “unless otherwise provided in the declaration.”

Actual conflicts do exist and require an evaluation of the competing authorities.  The hierarchy of authority applicable to community associations ranges from U.S. Constitution to the rules posted on a sign outside the pool and everything in between.  The key is to always have a legal basis for determining your authority – not to justify the result you prefer. 

What's Your Authority?

I was reminded this week of a common pitfall: Don't choose your authority to fit the argument you're trying to make at the time. read more

WCIOA Will Become Law This Summer - Are You Ready?

Whether any of us are truly ready or not, the Washington Common Interest Ownership Act ("WCIOA") takes effect on July 1, 2018. That date will be here sooner than you think. Are you ready? read more


No, You Don't Own Your Condo Parking Spot

A relatively common request fielded by condominium associations is from owners wanting to sell their parking spot to another owner. While many owners may believe they own their parking space, parking spaces are almost universally classified as limited common elements that are assigned to a particular unit. While this means unit owners have many of the rights of ownership related to their parking space - such as preventing other vehicles from using the space - from a legal standpoint, they do not own title to the space. read more

Taking No for an Answer

Everyone has probably heard the idiom, "Don't take no for an answer." This phrase can be traced back to a 1930 quote from Winston Churchill. It has been used countless times since in boardrooms, sales calls, and casting rooms. And yes… wait for it… it also applies in the field of insurance. read more

Redemption Period after a Sheriff's Sale

After a judgment and decree of foreclosure was entered, a sheriff's sale was held where you were the winning bidder/purchaser, but when do you actually become the legal, title owner of the property? read more

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